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by Mark Zalewski
February 15, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Kristoff wins Tour of Oman opener; US judge denies Armstrong request, federal whistleblower case headed to jury trial; Tramadol: Why Some Athletes and Experts Want It Banned; Boonen crashes in Oman, okay to start second stage; Chris Hoy: Cycling needs a shake up; Three Days De Panne-Koksijde signs 10 year agreement with events company Golazo; Gent-Wevelgem announces final teams; Merckx: Tour of Qatar unlikely for 2018; Hennie Kuiper searching for infamous photographer; Wout van Aert tops prize money list; Crash in amateur race after elbows thrown; Behind the scenes making a carbon frame; Film: To The Night.
In his final season as a pro Tom Boonen (Quick Step Floors) is singularly focused on the Spring Classics, with his retirement to come after Paris-Roubaix in April. Thus all of his early season racing is in preparation for that, and a crash now could send all of those plans up in smoke. So when he hit the tarmac on the opening stage of the Tour of Oman, what might look like an overreaction by his fellow riders and team staff makes more sense given the circumstances.
“It was a shock,” team manager Wilfried Peeters told Sporza. “But as soon as I heard he jumped back on the bike, I was relieved. You know that it is all right when a rider who jumps on his bike right away. He has had other crashes with bigger effects, this was ultimately one with just some scrapes. Of course it’s a shock. He is in his final weeks. Tom was immediately disappointed — it is a missed opportunity, he could win the stage and saw that that opportunity.”
“I left some skin on the asphalt and after the race I rode another 40 kilometres to let off some steam,” Boonen said on Instagram. “But all is well now.”
Some are wondering if he is taking unnecessary risks in these early season races, with so much on the line this year.
“Tom is eager, he wants to win and he can sprint and take victories, such as in Argentina,” Peeters said. “[Crashes] can always can happen in a race, whether or not in the sprint. So I do not agree that he no longer has to sprint to shun risks. A good sprint victory also gives confidence, which is something that a rider also needs. If you think too much, you better stop as a racer. And Tom is still a racer, to Paris-Roubaix, and will be there as well to win.”
Click through to read more at Sporza.